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Doxycyline Treatment promising for Mild Thyroid-Associated Eye Disease


Clinical trial finds doxycycline is effective for mild thyroid-associated eye disease

TAO is a condition that affects the eyes and occurs in people with thyroid disease. In TAO, the tissues surrounding the eyes become swollen and inflamed, leading to symptoms such as bulging eyes, eye irritation, and eye pain. The severity of the symptoms can vary, and there are currently no standard treatments for mild cases of TAO.

Doxycycline is a type of antibiotic that has been used to treat a variety of bacterial infections, such as acne and pneumonia. It has also been used off-label (meaning not approved by the FDA for this specific use) to treat inflammatory conditions such as periodontitis (a gum disease) and rosacea (a skin condition). Doxycycline has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, which is why it has been suggested as a potential treatment for TAO.

A clinical trial evaluated the effectiveness of doxycycline in treating patients with mild thyroid-associated ophthalmopathy (TAO). TAO can have a negative impact on the quality of life of patients, but there are currently no clinical guidelines for its treatment.

Clinical Trial

In this trial, 148 patients were initially assessed for eligibility, but some were excluded for reasons such as pregnancy, lactation, allergies to tetracyclines, or uncontrolled systemic diseases. 100 patients with mild TAO were enrolled and monitored for 12 weeks.

These patients were randomly assigned to take either doxycycline or a placebo (a pill that looks like the medicine but does not contain any active ingredients) once a day for 12 weeks. The primary outcome of the trial was the rate of improvement at 12 weeks compared to the baseline, which was assessed by a combination of factors such as eyelid aperture, proptosis, ocular motility, and the Graves ophthalmopathy-specific quality-of-life (GO-QOL) scale score.

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The results of the trial showed that the improvement rate of participants who took doxycycline was significantly higher than those who took the placebo. At week 12, 38% of the participants who took doxycycline showed improvement, compared to 16% of those who took the placebo. No adverse events were reported, except for one case of mild gastric acid regurgitation in one participant.

This trial concluded that oral doxycycline was effective in treating mild TAO at least in the short term. However, the researchers noted that the relatively short follow-up period and the size of the cohort should be considered when interpreting the findings. More research is needed to determine the long-term safety and effectiveness of doxycycline for TAO.


This clinical trial showed that doxycycline may be a promising treatment for mild TAO. However, further studies are needed to confirm these findings and to determine the optimal dosage and duration of treatment. If you have TAO, it is important to discuss your treatment options with your healthcare provider. They can help you decide if doxycycline or other treatments are right for you.


ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02203682

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This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. CenTrial Data Ltd. does not take responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. Treatments and clinical trials mentioned may not be appropriate or available for all trial participants. Outcomes from treatments and clinical trials may vary from person to person. Consult with your doctor as to whether a clinical trial is a suitable option for your condition. Assistance from generative AI tools may have been used in writing this article.